View Full Version : Technique variety in class?

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Clayton Drescher
02-12-2004, 03:10 AM
Tonight in class over the course of 2 hours we did at least 12 techniques, omote and ura where applicable, and several variations on a few of the techniques. The awe-inspiring part is that I can name another dozen or so we didn't do and I know there's dozens more that I don't know about. So how can classes be structured to teach students the multitude of techniques in aikido?

I was wondering, for my personal benefit, how are class curricula organized in your dojos?

Clayton Drescher
02-12-2004, 03:11 AM
In the Basics class at my dojo, taught by a yudansha, we generally do several different techniques over the course of the hour, but usually the same 5 or 6 foundation techniques each day.

In Sensei's class after the Basics the curriculum varies between either many different techniques or one or two core techniques with multiple variations throughout the class and he picks all kinds of techniques because its a more "advanced" class generally.

In my last dojo, it seemed to me, that my sensei would focus on one two techniques with variations a night until we got them pretty much down.

I like the more focused classes because you get to practice alot of the subtleties of techniques without having to switch gears too often. But I also like having more techniques more often in the more varied classes.



02-12-2004, 09:31 AM
I've studied one place where we do a small number of techniques and work on them a lot, and another where we did a huge number every class. Somehow both teaching styles eventually work, though I had the impression that some students prosper under one or the other. (I do best with the few-techniques approach, being a slow learner with little kinesthetic memory.)

Keeping a training notebook with detailed notes on every throw I've seen has helped me make sure that stuff seen only once isn't completely useless.

I'm slowly beginning to discover that as you get more experienced, the things you learn from one throw become more transferrable to others, and the vastness of the art is a *little* less daunting. Only a little, though. We were shown a shihonage from a different attack than the one we usually study, and I was able to say "Oh, okay" after seeing it and then just repeat it. Yay! Doesn't happen very often yet.

Mary Kaye

02-12-2004, 09:47 AM
I guess I didn't quite answer the question:

In Intro there's a set curriculum but it's not throws, it's hitori waza (solo exercises) and rolling. We always teach throws to illustrate these, but it's intructor's choice--Susan sensei usually teaches katate tori tenkan kokyunage, John sensei is much more adventurous and may teach ikkyo or a different kokyunage. Usually one throw per class maximum, because of the time spent on the main topics.

In the open classes, we usually work on 2 throws per class, sometimes 3. It's difficult to say why the sensei pick the particular ones they do, except that there's a slight relation to the testing criteria. They may not teach the testing throw in any given month, but they'll do something related (katate tori shihonage instead of the criterion yokomenuchi shihonage). John will do slightly more per class, and likes to teach more exotic throws. (I recall one class spent learning 3 defenses to a grab and strike combo, never seen before or since.)

Lately there seems to have been a theme (ikkyo and nikyo) and we keep coming back to katate tori tenkan ikkyo. I don't know if this is a decision the sensei have made or just something in the air, though.

It takes a *long* time to cycle though the whole repetoire this way. When I started studying for fourth kyu I made a list, and it's taken me two months and some pointed questions to get to see all eight of my criteria. It's clear that if we had 40 throws on the test instead, as the other dojo where I studied did, we'd need a different approach.

I wasn't happy trying to learn 40 different throws; I felt like I was stuffing my head but not really understanding anything. I can easily imagine, though, a student of slightly different temperment saying "I'm not happy doing the same thing over and over; I know there's so much to learn and this seems horribly limited." Luckily there are dojo around for both kinds of students.

Mary Kaye

02-12-2004, 10:16 AM
Our Sensei looks at the make up of each class and teaches what he feels we need work on. We review the last class and then do whatever he tells us. Some days we work a few techniques, some days many, some days combinations, some days counters.

Lan Powers
02-12-2004, 06:11 PM
Gotta love the variations!

Sensei will often start us on a basic,kihon-waza technique, then build on that theme with succesively more complex and/or elaborate variations.

On the other hand, we have spent several classes with 1,2, maybe 3-4 techniques that did not , on the surface, have much in common. Sweet when the light comes on, and it becomes clear that they were all chosen for their use of some portion of what we are lacking in at that point.

Other night.. one attack all night with as many variations as he could come up with in the class period. Loads of fun! Espescially when YOU finally see a version in your mind and try to make it work for the class!:p


02-12-2004, 09:49 PM
We run a cycle of techniques over each class (we train wed, fir and sun). It ges roughly Katemi Waza, Irimi, Shihonage, Kaiennage, Jujigarami, A different Katemi Waza, Kotegaeshi and finally Weapons.

Howeve we always start with Tae no henko, static and kinanagre, and mototetori Kokyu Ho, and usually a variation or two. In addition we do 2 suwari waza kokyu ho's at each class.

We'll usually spend 20-30 mins on the Kihon, then do acouple of vaiations. If its a technique thats particularly hard on a certain point, we'll change it over after one variation.

Then again, about two weeks before grading we'll toss that in, and do specific practice for our test.